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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.7

Don't Starve
June 18, 2013 | Ted Bade

Click to enlarge

It's A Trick. Get An Axe


Mac OS X: 10.7 |†CPU: 2 GHz | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 512 MB | Graphics: 256 MB, (ATI): Radeon HD 5670; (NVIDIA): Any; (Intel): Intel HD Graphics | Other: Not recommended for Intel GMA Graphics, Mac Minis, or early-generation MacBooks


Donít Starve is an entertaining Indie game produced by Klei Entertainment. Basically, your goal is to survive in the wilds using your wits and any materials you can find. First by exploring, finding food and materials needed to survive, then as the days pass, by developing tools and technology that make survival easier. Although the basics of this game are quite simple, playing can become amazingly complex. Don't Starve is very entertaining and borders on being addictive.

You start the game taking the role of Wilson. He is teleported to a strange land filled with materials, food, monsters, and animals. Each time you start a new game the map of the world is generated specifically for that game, so each time you play, it is different. There are some basics that always occur, although the locations and amounts will vary. For instance, there always are basics like berries, carrots, and other edibles; trees and grasses; flint and rocks for building things; a variety of animals both for eating and raw materials; other civilized creatures; and nasties (creatures/monsters) to fight. What changes is how much of all these items there are and where they are located relative to where you start and to each other.

The world itself is made up of a series of rectangular areas, each with a specific type of topography, offering different types of resources (advanced players will also locate caves / underground places to visit). There are areas heavy in trees, grasslands, marshy lands, rocky lands, and more. Birds are everywhere, and often drop seeds (donít think about where the seeds came from, just remember they are edible)! There are also rabbit (yummy meat, if cooked), random turkeys, cattle, and swine (but donít confuse the pig people with the edible animals!).

While the gameís title makes one think mostly about eating, there are actually three statistics one needs to keep track of. First, there is hunger, represented by an icon that looks like a stomach. The level in the icon goes down as you become hungry and goes up as you eat. Eating is important to survival. Second, is your health. Represented by a heart, the icon goes down as you are damaged by environmental factors. For instance, being attacked by a monster or angry inhabitant of the areas you explore, or even eating something that isnít good to eat (just because it reminds you of something edible, it doesnít necessarily mean it is.) Third, and finally, is sanity, represented by a brain icon. Sanity is very important, let it get too low and your vision alters, cute rabbits turn into gross rat like creatures whose meat is sickening, and you tend to have visions of shadow creatures reaching out for you. Believe me, it is no fun in this state (but you do have to experience it a least once, just for the fun of it.)

Luckily, the things you can find, consume, and create help bring your stats up and keep you in good health. However, if these numbers decrease, life can become difficult and if your health goes to zero, you die and that particular game is over, forever. While I have heard rumors of something that can be created that returns your character from death, I didnít manage to make anything like this in the short time I played. Ultimately, the best way to avoid death is to remain healthy and avoid unnecessary battles. After a recent update, I found something that ultimately gave Wilson one recovery from death. I am not sure if I missed it earlier or if it was added during the update.

Besides finding food, you can also build tools and other items using the materials at hand. You start with the ability to make some basic items, those most necessary for survival. For instance, an axe for cutting trees, a pickaxe for breaking rocks, a campfire and a fire pit for the long scary nights, a couple items of clothing/protection, and so forth. After you find the materials, you will be able to build a ďScience Machine.Ē This device will give you the ability to create more complex items to make survival even easier. You can build things like a garden, boards (like logs only shaped), blocks for building, ropes, a spear, and more.

The things you can build are listed in a side bar. The side bar is divided into sections like survival, food, clothing, tools, and so forth. Click on a section and it opens to display the items you can build, click on a particular recipe and it lists the materials needed to build that object and how many are currently on your person. Items the Science Machine allows you build are shown as locked until you build the first such item, called a prototype. You can only see the items the Science Machine letís you build while you are standing near one, so obviously you need to be near the Science Machine to build your prototype. You will also need to remember what is needed to make the item of interest as you travel looking for materials.


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